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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lesley Ann Warren, Jeremy Davies, Amy Locane

Director: Steven Shainberg

Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a young woman who has recently been released from a mental hospital. She has a history of hurting herself as a way of dealing with aspects of life that she can’t handle. When she gets home she decides to look for a job as a secretary. She goes on a typing course and graduates top of her class. After applying for a secretarial position with a legal firm, she is invited for an interview by a lawyer named Mr. Grey (James Spader). He offers her the position and she accepts it.

Unfortunately as the work mounts she feels more and more pressurised and finally resorts to her former ways of releasing this pressure. Mr Grey disapproves of this but instead provides a kinky alternative that Lee surprisingly enjoys, totally. When Mr Grey abruptly stops providing his alternative means of relief Lee tries everything to get him to continue. In the process Lee discovers many things about herself because of the manner in which Mr Grey handles her, and both of them end up in a situation that neither had planned for.

James Spader is good as always, portraying a dark, cynical lawyer with a good sense of humour. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a revelation in her role as a young woman who has only just discovered her feminine side, innocent yet provocative. Besides the acting being good, so is the directing from Steven Shainberg. The plot is well planned but due to the nature of the story matter it may not have wide public approval.

All in all, SECRETARY is a very strange but entertaining movie.

4 out of 6 stars